Brief history of campaign



Colin Milner founds ICAA with the tagline Changing the way we age, thus setting the stage. The purpose of the organization is to change society’s perception of aging.


Over next few years, with this purpose in mind, ICAA concentrates on building and promoting methods to enhance quality of life in older adults.


2007 – 2008 Strategy Sessions

The Strategy Session delegates identified five major themes that affect hiring and staffing for wellness programs. One of these themes references ageist attitudes:

  • Misconceptions about working with older adults. People—even those who are already on staff—may have misconceptions about older adults, such as underestimating what elders are capable of. They may be uncomfortable around those who have disabilities or chronic diseases. Or, they may lack confidence in their ability to provide multiple types of programs.

2009 Strategy Session

In discussion on engagement, the issue of older adults’ perceptions of their own capabilities is raised. This thought surfaces in some ways at virtually every meeting through the years.


2006 – 2010

As a regular participant at the Strategy Sessions and board meetings, ICAA Advisory board member Kay Van Norman continues to emphasize that ageism is a root issue for the active aging industry, and for the world at large. However, “ageism’ is so broad a concept that the ways to attack it are not clear.


2009 – 2010

ICAA convenes a Visioning Board, which joins the Advisory Board. Members identify key issues facing the industry.  In addition, they make recommendations on actions ICAA can take to meet its mission.

Colin Milner travels around the country and participates in various meetings at the global, US and Canadian levels. He begins to sense that the timing is right to attack ageism, and that it is the next major work of ICAA.


2010, March

ICAA announces its 5 strategies developed from the ICAA 2020 visioning process. “Within ICAA 2020, our goals are to raise the value of the active-aging industry, expand our audience of believers, shift thinking to the new paradigm of a wellness model, and create opportunities for older adults and professionals.”


One of the strategies:

Rebrand aging as the leading advocates in the battle to end ageism and counter aging stereotypes. ICAA forms a workgroup of volunteers from the advisory and visioning boards. The charter of the work group is to write a plan of actions that can reasonably be taken to combat ageism. The work group is chaired by Dick Ambrosius. Active members in developing the concepts and the plan include:

  • Kay Van Norman
  • Helen Foster
  • Katie Smith Sloan
  • Pat Ryan
  • Khristine Rogers
  • Christine Phan
  • Roger Landry
  • Barbara Resnick
  • Sue Orr

2010 Strategy Session

In envisioning the future in 10 years, delegates stated:

  • Intergenerational interaction should be encouraged, with older adults as mentors and role models, to both discourage ageism and access the knowledge and skills of older adults.

  • There is, and should be, a shift in culture away from “taking care of the old people” to one where older adults take care of themselves, being responsible for their own health and developing their own lifestyle activities, with support from professionals.

  • Key words

2010 Strategy Network at ICAA Conference

The theme is rebranding aging. The work group’s plan is presented, and many organizations joined in confirming the need and the action items. The work group’s work is ended and the group disbands.



Recommendations in the work group’s plan are developed and ready for implementation:

  • ICAA renames campaign "Changing the Way We Age®."

  • Fitness expert Kathy Smith to serve as a spokesperson for the campaign.

  • On Monday May 9, ICAA launches the ground-breaking “Changing the Way We Age® Campaign” to help shift society’s perceptions of aging and countering aging stereotypes.

    Click here to listen to the live webcast of launch.